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The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,647 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
It's 1770, and fourteen-year-old Rachel Marsh is a servant in the Boston household of John Adams. But her loyalty to the Adams family is tested by her friendship with Matthew Kilroy, a British private with an unsavory reputation. Rachel knows Matthew is frustrated and angry, but even she is surprised when he is accused of joining soldiers in firing upon a mob of citizens . ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 30th 1993 by Hmh Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1993)
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Wendy
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first half of the book. 4 stars for the reading. Minus one star for my unresolved questions at the end. Such a sad situation for the British soldiers in Boston. I enjoyed reading about the turmoil in Boston and as people try to "pick their sides" during a time when they were still loyalists. Revolution was not yet being called out on the streets. But, there was a hunger for liberty in Boston.

**Spoiler alter**
The second half the book had "issues" I wish were expl
...more
Laura Petto
Jul 10, 2008 Laura Petto rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay. I know that I should write a real review of this, but... it'd be too critical.

I have to wonder if Ann Rinaldi did ANY research. I don't know that much about the Adams, having only read 6 or so books completely about them, but I found GAPING holes and horrible mistakes. Okay, not horrible, but still.

And the name dropping in this book? Wow. Way to drop Henry Knox, MERCY OTIS WARREN!, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Hutchinson... all of whom the Adams had contact, but I did wonder what hap
...more
Rebecca L. Snowe
This book was very good. I've read one other of Ann Rinaldi's books and enjoyed it immensely as well for her writing style is superb and her story telling amazing although this book was a little slow in the beginning (This is usual though and predictable for a historical fiction book). I really felt like I was with Rachel as she walked through the streets of Boston and by the end of the book I was turning pages so fast to see what happens next I almost got a paper cut. So yeah this book was real ...more
Kassie
Mar 04, 2008 Kassie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this YA Historical Fiction novel.
I am currently homeschooling my girls and trying to figure out how to inspire them to desire to learn on their own. I appreciated the heroine in this book who had a great desire to 'make something of herself' and determined in her mind that learning and books were the tools to help her do that. She also found a mentor or two to help her along her way.
I plan to read this out loud to my girls next year when we are studying American History.
Bev Walkling
One of the marks of a really good book for me is when it inspires me to do more reading on the subject matter on my own. This young adult telling of a young indentured girls growth in knowledge and self-understanding did that for me. I come in part from Loyalist ancestors and when I visited Boston the first time and saw the marker for the "Boston Massacre" I didn't believe it was a massacre at all. This book didn't change my opinion on that. but I found it to be a well-researched and well-balanc ...more
Photina
Photina Haumschilt
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rachel Marsh is an indentured servant to John and Abigail Adams in Boston, Massachusetts. Her job in the Adams' house is to care for their children. On her off days she yearns to better herself and starts going to the local bookstore to read books and learn. As the British soldiers arrive in Boston tensions start to become more apparent and people choose sides. Rachel is torn as she befriends a British soldier, Matthew Kilroy. Her Loyalties and own beli
...more
Rebecca Radnor
The events surrounding the Boston Massacre as perceived by a maid in the Adams' household whose name was Rachel and is in the process of figuring out who she is and what her values are, and she wants to become. Probably one of Rinaldi's more readable books and she's a bit less heavy handed with the fact dropping than in most of her other books. Not sure I particularly like this character all that much, but I could see it being very appealing to girls who are themselves deeply insecure. Also, the ...more
Heather
Growing up my favorite author was hands down Ann Rinaldi. I owned probably about a dozen or so of them and I would frequently borrow those that I didn’t own from the school library. After about age 15 I got distracted by other books and really forgot all about this author until a few weeks ago. I was exploring the author’s website for a feature I was doing on YA Historical Fiction and realized that she has still been releasing books, almost every year, and still is. This made me want to take som ...more
Emily
Jan 19, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I was a fan of Rinaldi's book Acquaintance with Darkness. I didn't think I would enjoy a historical fiction book, but I really liked reading it!

It started off kinda boring, but as the first couple of chapters went on, it became a great book with a well-written plot.

I noticed that not all of the historical information in here was correct. But most of the time, it was. (Rinaldi wrote "Townsend Acts" instead of "Townshend Acts") The parts about the Boston Massacre were very accu
...more
Sarah
So, this was one of my favorite books when I was younger and when I recently cleaned out my bookshelves I decided I wanted to read it again. It was definitely worth reading again too.

Now that I'm older I understand more of what the book is about; that it's not just about a servant girl who had a friendship with a British solder. And that Rachel asked questions that we all should ask, that myself at 20 am still asking myself.

This is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction that can be en
...more
Leann S
Jun 06, 2016 Leann S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cataloging summary: Fourteen-year old Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant in the Boston household of John and Abigail Adams, is caught up in the colonists 19 unrest that eventually escalates into the massacre of March 5, 1770.

One of the strengths of this book is the melding of historical facts with fictional ideas. Ann Rinaldi is known for her works of historical fiction, and this is one of them. Rinaldi does extensive research for her novels and then interprets the events to make her own story.
...more
Rachel
Jun 13, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice
Nov 25, 2014 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Marsh is a 14 year old maidservant in the home of John and Abigail Adams in the time before the Revolutionary War. Coming from a tough background herself, Rachel is naive and easily influenced by the people around her. When people begin whispering about rising against the crown, Rachel is at a loss for what to do. She knows she must keep up an image because she lives in the respectable household of John Adams, but her family and friends are tired of the treatment they are receiving at the ...more
K1
May 30, 2015 K1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Marsh is servant in the Boston household of John Adams. She is torn in two, one half of her a loyal Yankee and the other half, a rebel. Her town is littered with soldiers from Britain, and soon, one of them becomes her friend. She and Matthew Kilroy do everything together, but at home, she must forget everything she knows about him. John Adams and the other Sons of Liberty are discussing ways to get rid of the soldiers. Rachel must decide whether or not to tell Matthew or not. Their frien ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 22, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a historical fiction work, but based very heavily on fact, about the Boston Massacre. Rachel is 14, and has been indentured to John Adams, working in his house as a domestic. She has a hideous uncle, and only a few friends.

The book describes what was going on before the massacre, how the townspeople were divided, how the British soldiers acted, and how John Adams was involved. Rachel falls for a British soldier who is guarding their house. She is also friends, though, with people who bac
...more
Emilee
Sep 08, 2015 Emilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful historical novel about the time period in Boston between the Mayflower and before the Declaration of Independence. Boston is still under British rule.. Rachel is a servant to John and Abigail Adams. John Adams is a lawyer and is well respected among the Boston community. England has sent in troops to guard certain posts and keep people in line. I loved learning a about that time period of history. A sweet romance between opposing parties ensues and she has to decide on l ...more
Robyn
May 28, 2014 Robyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rinaldi is a brilliant and creative story-teller...the two stars aren't a reflection of the author, just this story. Maybe 'historical' 'fiction' isn't my cup o tea. I found the protagonist to be completely unbelievable! Her choices, her actions were soooo 21st century, and, I couldn't reconcile that with the time period the story is set. Rinaldi states that the catalyst for this story was the riots in L A in 1992 -- maybe her story should have just been written with that as the setting instead ...more
Daphnie Driza
Feb 24, 2016 Daphnie Driza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is a wonderful book that mixes happiness, sadness, and shock. The author clearly wrote all the details that are necessary for this type of book. At first, the plot started out being a bit boring and slow but if you continue reading it, there's going to be a point where you can't stop reading and reading it until you finish. It has a bit of a twist in it that at first is confusing but as you read along very carefully, it all starts to unravel. I would give it a 5 star rating if only the ...more
Laura
Mar 06, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Rinaldi as an author, and I liked the basic premise of this story. It kept me reading and I had trouble putting it down. However, the characters kept it from being a 5 star book. I didn't like Matthew, and I found his relationship with Rachel to be poorly written - it seemed like Rinaldi couldn't decide if she wanted it to seem like a friendship or a romance. I also found Rachel to be rather naive, and even though the reader is supposed to feel that Rachel has grown and matured by ...more
Jordan.Balmer
Feb 22, 2016 Jordan.Balmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well executed. I was not in it at first, but Ann Rinaldl was just giving us time to attach to the characters to then have us be in there shoes and we know why they chose what they do. I got attached to Rachel but she had made a choice to see him or not. She risked her job spot for a friend. I learned so much from this character. The only thing I did not like about it was the fact that it took a really long time to get in it. I learned it was character develpoememnt but all in all please rea ...more
Nancy St. Clair
Jan 08, 2012 Nancy St. Clair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites

Since I enjoy history as well as a cast of ever-evolving characters, The Fifth of March was an engrossing read for me. Right from the start, the story swept me away and deposited me into colonial Boston where economic and political uncertainty was paramount during the 1770’s. I think that Ms. Rinaldi did an excellent job of providing a character, Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant to John and Abigail Adams, with whom the reader, especially young women, could relate. I became deeply absorbed and

...more
Kendall
The Fifth of March was about a young girl, Rachel Marsh, who was the nanny for the children of John and Abigail Adams. During her quest to educate herself and learn more, she is thrown into the world of unrest and rebellion. Rachel tries to find her place in this new and unsettling period. Her loyalties to the Adams is tested though when she becomes friends with a young British soldier, Matthew Kilroy. A good book about loyalty, liberty, friendship, and family.

I always enjoy how Rinaldi is able
...more
Mandolin
Jun 25, 2012 Mandolin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

On March 5, 1770, one of the most unspeakable acts to ever occur on American soil at that time took place, inciting fires that would later contribute to the American Revolution. That day, the tensions that had been growing between the colonists and the British soldiers exploded, leaving behind many wounded and five dead. Imagine being a young indentured servant in the crowd of onlookers, rooted to your place by the horror of what was unfolding before you. Rachel Marsh, Rinaldi's heroine, recount
...more
Sheila
Aug 06, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book by Rinaldi and won't be my last. Compelling story with a main character that was easy to identify with. Rachel Marsh, the primary character, is an indentured servant to John and Abigail Adams and her job is to take care of their children. Rachel was a real person who was an indentured servant to the Adams family. I've read too many books about John and Abigail Adams for much of the information in the book to be new to me but I did learn some interesting tidbits about John Hancock a ...more
Sara
Sep 28, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre is an excellently researched tale about the Boston Massacre. The main character, Rachel Marsh, was a nursemaid in John Adams' household for his many children. In this novel, she turns from a young teenager with a romanticized version of the world into a young woman with character and sense on her shoulders. She underwent this process by becoming friends with revolutionaries, such as Henry Knox, and British soldiers.

One aspect that I loved about
...more
Karan P
Apr 04, 2014 Karan P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In the historical fiction novel The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi, the protagonist is a fourteen-year-old indentured servant girl named Rachel Marsh who works for John and Abigail Adams in Boston, Massachusetts during the early 1770’s. Rachel falls in love with Matthew Kilroy, a British private in the 29th regiment, and witnesses the Boston Massacre and see’s eight British soldier’s firing at the colonist for self defense. One of these soldiers was Matthew and he shot Sam Gray in the head, the e

...more
Tomas B
Summary: In the novel The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi, Rachel Marsh is introduced as an indentured servant for the Adams family. Rachel's parents are both dead and the only person in her family that is living is her uncle Eb. Rachel's uncle is known to be cruel because of all the things he did to Rachel's mother. Rachel's uncle wants Rachel to give him information about the Adams' but she proves her loyalty by denying him. Matthew Kilroy is a British soldier who is sent to “protect” the Boston ...more
♥Robin ♥
I really enjoyed reading this book. Of course I'm a sucker for historical fiction as well as YA books. The plot was well written and I was immediately drawn into the story. The protagonist was easy to connect with especially with her interest in reading and the want to better herself despite her low socioeconomic status. The author's writing style was likeable which made the book an easy read. I must admit that there were tidbits of historical information that I didn't know so not only was this ...more
Whitney
If you are a history teacher and you are looking for a book that will help kids understand this particular moment in history in an interesting way: this is your book! Everyone else: don't bother.

I didn't hate it, it just reads like it was written for young adults in the 1990s (which is was). Books for young adults have come a long way since then, and the voice just felt off. Also, Rinaldi did a good job of fitting facts into the story line, but occasionally it felt forced.
Sue
Rinaldi's stories are always good. This tells of Rachel Marsh, indentured servant to John & Abigail Adams, who finds herself learning about books and the world during the time just before the Boston Massacre. As she meets people and broadens her mind, she befriends a young British soldier and their friendship will change the course of her life as she watches the historic events unfold. There is much to read between the lines here about the value of propaganda, how pacifists are viewed during ...more
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The Young Adult H...: The Fifth of March, by Ann Rinaldi - March's Read 6 14 Mar 22, 2014 09:22PM  
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Ann Rinaldi (b. August 27, 1934, in New York City) is a young adult fiction author. She is best known for her historical fiction, including In My Father's House, The Last Silk Dress, An Acquaintance with Darkness, A Break with Charity, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons. She has written a total of forty novels, eight of which were listed as notable by the ALA. In 2000, Wolf by the Ears was lis ...more
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“I want a place. It has to do with the kind of person I want to be. And how I fit in to everything. I want people to listen when I open my mouth. And know I'm worth listening to."

She stared at me. "That's all?"

To me it was not all, it was everything.”
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“Are all American girls as daft as you, Rachel?"

"I hope so," I said.”
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